Duck Breeds & Species of North America

A Drake Blue-winged Teal in the water.

Welcome birdwatchers, conservationists, enthusiasts, and students of wildlife education! We’re thrilled to introduce you to 50 Ducks, your definitive platform for monitoring the movements of ducks, geese, and other waterfowl. Dive deep into educational insights about various duck species of North America that we’re actively tracking or aiming to track in the upcoming years. Be sure to revisit frequently for the latest updates on duck breeds’ movements and newly added duck breeds!

Empowering Conservation Through Education

Since 1970, waterfowl populations have been trending positively. To continue this encouraging growth, 50 Ducks offers you—the wildlife enthusiast—the information you need to champion “conservation through education.” Explore the table below to learn about 12 waterfowl species we’ve tagged or plan to GPS-tag in the coming years. Click on each species for a deep dive into fun facts and additional details.

For detailed information, click on the hyperlinks in the chart below to learn more about each duck species.

For a quick and simple reference while observing these magnificent creatures in the wild, check out our Duck Species Identification Chart.

 

Blue-winged TealMexican DuckAmerican Black DuckCanada GooseFulvous Whistling DuckAmerican Wigeon

Black-

bellied Whistling Duck

GadwallCinnamon TealNorthern ShovelerNorthern PintailMallards
A population survey of ducks from ducks.org covering the Eastern region.

The State of Waterfowl in 2023

The Breeding Population and Habitat Survey (BPOP) for 2023 recorded a total of 32.4 million breeding waterfowl in a study region spanning over 2 million square miles—from Alaska and the Canadian Prairies to the Hudson Bay. This survey is a joint effort involving federal, provincial, and state agencies, and the data feeds into computer models to estimate North American duck populations.

Featured Species

Below is an illustration highlighting key species, courtesy of Ducks Unlimited. Note that some duck breeds on our list, such as the Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Mexican Duck, and Cinnamon Teal, fall outside the BPOP survey area.

A population survey of ducks from ducks.org covering the Central region.

The Fascinating World of Ducks

Duck species are as varied and unique as the people who delight in observing them. For instance, Pintails migrate from Baja California to Siberia, while Blue-winged Teals travel from Cuba to Brazil and on to Canada’s Boreal Forest. Other species, like the Mexican Duck, tend to be more localized.

Shapes, Sizes, and Diets

North American ducks come in all shapes and sizes—ranging from the large-bodied Mallard with its bright green head, to the subdued, 10-ounce hen Blue-winged Teal. Dietary habits are equally diverse. Mallards, for example, have generalist feeding habits, comfortable in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. They consume everything from aquatic vegetation to cultivated crops. On the other hand, the diet of the Merganser is largely fish-centric.

Engage with Us

Be sure to revisit frequently for the latest updates on duck movements and newly added duck breeds. Together, we can contribute to the tapestry of waterfowl ecology.
A Wigeon swimming straight ahead.